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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or Staffbleblanc Date: Dec 16, 2003 2:53am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

Try the above experiment.

I tried this with 2 tracks - "Shine" which is d1t2 from this recording (a soundboard/matrix) and the 4/3/98 recording of Piper (Phish - AKG 461s > D8). I wanted one SBD and one DAUD for this.

I used 192kbps for both because that was the source of both Dave and Brewster's comments. I used mkwACT for the encoding of the MP3's.

Playback was PC > DiO 2496 (D/A) > RCA Outs > Sony Receiver > Sennheiser HD575's - el cheapo dogs of the Sennheiser product line, but still decent headphones.

Conclusion: The difference is *highly* noticeable for the SBD recording, there's a "swirliness" in Travis' cymbals that isn't in the original wave file. When I play it back through my speakers instead of my headphones I can still notice it, it's really annoying and I find it unlistenable.

The DAUD is harder to notice, but if you listen for it it's still there. Again, Fish's cymbals make it really noticeable and it sounds almost like Mike has been turned down in the mix a little, but maybe that's just me. I can still notice the difference over my speakers, possibly only because I know where to expect it - but it is still there.

I agree with Dave, it's most definitely noticeable when you play them next to each other.

In 20 years, when 24-bit/96 khz DVD-Audio is the norm (and probably even on the way out), no one will even remember mp3s.

I'm pretty sure that they will be around at least 20 more years, as will Shorten and FLAC. MP3's have been here for about 7+ years now (I remember downloading them over dial-up back when I was a senior in high school in 1996/1997) and they are still the #1 format for music on the internet. They won't be going away anytime soon.

However, as it has been pointed out numerous times, the MP3's are not being offered as a replacement, but as a supplement. You can still tell a good recording from a bad one using an MP3 sample. You can still tell if you like or dislike the band using a MP3 sample. Folks across the oceans over a dial-up connection can sample the collection using them. And anal audiophiles like myself can stick to lossless. :)

Personally, I like Brewster's recommendation. Try it for a year, allow uploaders to make the decision on MP3's or NO MP3's when they import the show, and revisit the idea this time next year. It's the best middle ground we've got right now.

-Brad

This post was modified by bleblanc on 2003-12-16 10:53:20

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Poster: kdawg Date: Dec 16, 2003 9:23am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

Hey Brad, (and all)

Ahhh -- I see where we're askew:

> I used 192kbps for both because that was the
> source of both Dave and Brewster's comments. I
> used mkwACT for the encoding of the MP3's.

Therein lies where we're not seeing eye to eye -- I just tried that encoder and it's terrible. MKW's 196 kb/s setting sounds as bad as CDEX (which uses the LAME encoder) at 128 kb/s! But I'll personally send you some beers if you can hear MP3 distortion with cdex using the LAME encoder v 1.30/3.92 at 192 kb/s, MPEG1, normalize off in a legit *blind* test. I used your SCI board sample as a test: the drum fill at about 11:48 really brought out the MP3-ness. To me it sounds identical to the .wav file at 160 kb/s.

You can download cdex (it's free) at:
http://download.com.com/3000-2140-10226370.html?tag=lst-0-1

I think the MKW software is where people are getting sour on MP3 -- don't blame mp3! MKW is just a bad implementation.

> Conclusion: The difference is *highly* noticeable
> for the SBD recording, there's a "swirliness" in
> Travis' cymbals that isn't in the original wave
> file.

Totally agree for the MKW version. And the applause at the end is "swirly" too. But it's totally not there with my CDEX version.

> When I play it back through my speakers instead
> of my headphones I can still notice it, it's
> really annoying and I find it unlistenable.

I wouldn't say unlistenable, but yeah definitely annoying, especially on a recording as good as the SCI one.

> The DAUD is harder to notice, but if you listen
> for it it's still there.

Yep -- crowd noise is the major offender.

> However, as it has been pointed out numerous
> times, the MP3's are not being offered as a
> replacement, but as a supplement.

That's cool with me. But I think it's worth exploring encoding with CDEX (or other decentencoder) at 160 or 196 kb/s assuming no one can tell the difference. If the Archive can afford to keep lossless copies around and have servers that can handle that kind of bandwidth then great, but I think properly encoded mp3's will be "the highest quality" (as per the charter), the LMA will have wider appeal, and the admins won't have to deal with the headache of having two copies of everything around.

> Personally, I like Brewster's recommendation. Try
> it for a year, allow uploaders to make the
> decision on MP3's or NO MP3's when they import
> the show, and revisit the idea this time next
> year. It's the best middle ground we've got right
> now.

Sounds reasonable and fair to me. I think the uploaders should also be educated on what mp3 encoder to use (if they so choose) so there aren't any lousy MP3s available that will give MP3 a bad name.

Cheers :^)

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or Staffbleblanc Date: Dec 18, 2003 11:45am
Forum: etree Subject: Late Followup - kdawg

I think the MKW software is where people are getting sour on MP3 -- don't blame mp3! MKW is just a bad implementation.

Whoa, you are right on the mark with this comment. I didn't use the CDEX encoder, only because I'm working off my hard drive and that looked geared to ripping straight from a CD. However, I did download the LAME v3.93.1 executables and started playing around with various levels 'n stuff. MUCH better results, and you're right - there isn't all that much difference between a properly encoded 192kbps MP3 and the original. If you listen really hard, it's there, but only with headphones on...

Thanks!

-Brad

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or StaffJonathan Aizen Date: Dec 16, 2003 10:11am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

I intend to use LAME to do the encoding, for the variable bit rates, I'll use -preset standard flag, and for other bitrates I'll use -b {64,128,192,256}

Jon

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Poster: dgrayshn Date: Dec 16, 2003 10:56am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

so much for debate.. you admins are speaking as if it is a forgone conclusion that there will be mp3's here..

why not just take down the etree message now.. I dont see how anyone who is part of etree could stand for this..

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or Staffbleblanc Date: Dec 16, 2003 11:45pm
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

I dont see how anyone who is part of etree could stand for this.

Count me in too. I've been involved with etree since 1998.

-Brad

This post was modified by bleblanc on 2003-12-17 07:45:53

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Poster: dgrayshn Date: Dec 16, 2003 11:39pm
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

another thing... no one has pointed that more and more bands are going to start selling live shows themselves.. in mp3 and shn/flac.. previously some bands might not have been worried about archive because only audiophiles or hard-core fans might have gone to download shn/flac..but once you add mp3 and open it up to everyone i bet you many bands will not be thrilled about that and either pull out or ask that this stop..especially if it is hurting their sales for any reason..

ALso if mp3 is such a viable solution that you guys are confident will be around in 10 years why is it I'm looking at a portable player that supports flac and I know I'm not allown..

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or Staffbleblanc Date: Dec 17, 2003 12:19am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

Also if mp3 is such a viable solution that you guys are confident will be around in 10 years why is it I'm looking at a portable player that supports flac and I know I'm not alone

Please see my posts above. Just because it's supporting FLAC, doesn't mean that the whole world will convert to FLAC in 5 years. For one thing, most folks don't consider FLAC a replacement for MP3 because the files are much larger. A 20GB iPod can hold 10,000 MP3's versus only 1,000 or so FLAC files.

However, this has very little relevance to the discussion. MP3 isn't a "Solution", it's a feature. If MP3 fades away and people stop using them, the feature will probably be removed from this site. It's that simple. If another format pops up as better, we might discuss adding it instead. The reality is that we have a band right now waiting for us to add them so they can point their fans here. In other words, some bands *want* them here. We have a few bands that don't want them here and have added that in their policy (i.e. Howie Day) - so we won't add any to that artist's collection.

If it bothers bands, they are free to change their policy regarding MP3's and we'll remove them. I'll be surprised if they get all heated up and decide "It's time to ban the archive and piss off all our fans over there!!!" rather than just changing their policy.

For example, SKB just had a change in their policy and their archivists sent us a note. We swapped a few friendly emails to ask if we needed to remove recordings from our collection per the change, and they said no. Presto.

The current solution aims to please the most people as possible. Those that like the idea and those that don't. It's not an ALL OR NOTHING solution. If you contribute a recording and don't want MP3's, then you choose that by (probably) unchecking a checkbox. Presto, you just opted out. I just don't see how my wanting them with my work and the Archive offering that as an option to me should offend you when it isn't forced on you. If you don't want to see them next to your contributions, then go ahead and choose "No".

-Brad

This post was modified by bleblanc on 2003-12-17 08:19:44

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Poster: thoman8r Date: Dec 17, 2003 12:53am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

If it bothers bands, they are free to change their policy regarding MP3's and we'll remove them. I'll be surprised if they get all heated up and decide "It's time to ban the archive and piss off all our fans over there!!!" rather than just changing their policy.

I think the archive should get explicit permission from each band before allowing mp3s, even if there isn't anything in their policy. Some bands, especially less established ones, may not have a clear cut written policy on distribution. Just because mp3s aren't explicitly forbidden, it can't be assumed a band will be ok with it. They agreed to allow the archive to host lossless copies of their shows, that's all.

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or StaffDiana Hamilton Date: Dec 17, 2003 1:00am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA and band contacts

Good point, the plan is indeed to "ping" them all beforehand if they haven't said anything about mp3 in their policy notes.

This post was modified by Diana Hamilton on 2003-12-17 09:00:27

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or StaffDiana Hamilton Date: Dec 17, 2003 12:41am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

previously some bands might not have been worried about archive... open it up to everyone i bet you many bands will not be thrilled about that

Hm, the logic doesn't follow on this. Bands that have said yes to archiving are already well aware that it increases exposure to and availability of their music in some form, because we've even highlighted that in "pitching" the idea to them. Presumably they've already overcome "worry" in their cost-benefit analysis, prior to saying "yes" at all. That's typically why they decided to be trade-friendly in the first place.

Again, they know they can place limits on the available form here (sbd vs aud for instance; or, just this show vs not some other show; later another limit, lossless and lossy vs just lossless).

This post was modified by Diana Hamilton on 2003-12-17 08:41:28

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or StaffDiana Hamilton Date: Dec 16, 2003 11:22pm
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

I dont see how anyone who is part of etree

I'm "part of etree", I can send you a summary of my views if you missed 'em before. (j/k, no reader could've missed- I must be a top-volume board poster here now as well as in etree venues. ;) ).

This post was modified by Diana Hamilton on 2003-12-17 07:22:20

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Poster: kdawg Date: Dec 17, 2003 12:11am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

I have one practical question... what happens to the server performance if the LMA gets popular?

Say 300 people are downloading at once. 500 kb/s transfer per user would be a reasonable target -- that's 100 T1 lines. One business-class T1 line costs about $500/month and I don't know how much 100 times that would cost. OK now a rack server generally only has 1 Gb/s IO, so you'd need on the order of 100 servers (at about $2,000 each) that can all somehow access the entire database in real time. And there would need to be some SuperAdmin that can handle the load balancing and maintenance.

Does the LMA have that kind of financing?

Point being, by having people download lossless vs. MP3 you either need to have ~5 times the server power, can only connect to 1/5th the people or will have to reduce download capacity by 5 (to 100 kb/s in my example above). But then again, if there were MP3s then I think the LMA would be vastly more popular. Which I reckon would be great for the bands. (Assuming that people have spent more on these bands because of the LMA like I have).

Just thinking out loud -- thought I'd throw that out there.

K-dawg

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or StaffDiana Hamilton Date: Dec 17, 2003 12:57am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

I don't know anything about archival tech/$ details, but as a back of the envelope thing, a typical shn or flac might be 30MB, vs ~3MB for the same in mp3.

So I'm guessing archive can support 10 nontraders ("quick listening copy" type visits) for the "price" of 1 trader-class visitor.

Further, some nontraders who have been visiting to date and have been forced into trader-class by the offerings, will be switching to the lower bw solution for them (we've seen a number of posters who've said, "I d/l the shns and then throw them way after making the mp3s I want.") That's space for 9 more nontraders (or ~1 more trader) freed up every time right there.

This post was modified by Diana Hamilton on 2003-12-17 08:57:27

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Poster: thoman8r Date: Dec 16, 2003 3:20am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

I agree with Dave, it's most definitely noticeable when you play them next to each other.

Thank you, I think most reasonable people with halfway decent hearing would come to the same conclusion. There have been times I have received an mp3 sourced show in a trade and I am always able to tell *within seconds* that it came from mp3.

I'm pretty sure that they will be around at least 20 more years, as will Shorten and FLAC. MP3's have been here for about 7+ years now (I remember downloading them over dial-up back when I was a senior in high school in 1996/1997) and they are still the #1 format for music on the internet. They won't be going away anytime soon.

Technological advances in computing and digital audio would have to come to a stunning halt for this to be true. Will mp3s be around in 2,3, 5 years. Yeah, most likely. Beyond that it's a pretty safe bet they will go the way of the dinosaur, replaced by The Next Best Thing, which hopefully will be losslessly compressed 24-bit/96khz files that are small enough to transfer and store by most people. This has been the trend of both the audio and computer industries, and I see no reason why mp3 would be any different.

Personally, I like Brewster's recommendation. Try it for a year, allow uploaders to make the decision on MP3's or NO MP3's when they import the show, and revisit the idea this time next year. It's the best middle ground we've got right now.

I would be ok with this as a compromise, provded the LMA promise to continue to honor taper (not uploader) requests regarding mp3 conversion after the 1 year period if they decide to continue ahead with hosting mp3s.

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Poster: niuphan Date: Dec 16, 2003 5:46am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

I'm really beyond words with some of the things I am reading. Quoting the top front page of the Live Music Archive:

"etree.org is a community committed to providing the highest quality live concerts in a lossless, downloadable format. The Internet Archive has teamed up with etree.org to preserve and archive as many live concerts as possible for current and future generations to enjoy"

This type of discussion would NEVER fly on an etree discussion board/email list. If the archive is so closely teamed up with etree.org, why don't we bring this discussion/topic to the etree discussion list?

I know these MP3's will only be supliments to the current lossless shows, but can they be stored on different servers? How about the Open Source Audio page???? Why the LMA? Why confuse the mission statement that is so clearly posted on the front page of the LMA??? Open Source Audio's mission seems MUCH more appropriate for MP3!

It is pointless to get into an argument over whether MP3 sounds just as good as a SHN/FLAC.

100MB FLAC file compared the same 10MB MP3 file. That's a lot of missing audio information!!! If your ears can't tell the difference, it's right there is the file size.

We could argue till the cows come how as to how long MP3's will be around and how long SHN/FLAC will be around. But as you are ALL aware, technology moves fast. What happened to Real Audio?

Open Source Audio is the place for these mp3 files. If that doesn't make sense to the decision makers, at least SEPARATE servers?

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or StaffDiana Hamilton Date: Dec 16, 2003 9:30am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

this discussion/topic to the etree discussion list?

No need, we interested etreers visit here every day in droves thanks to Tom and Jon's handy crosslinking. Not just me, bunches of other people too. :)

In any case, speaking from many years experience in that list, a much er, "zestier" discussion has occurred here already than would ever happen in the etree discussion mailing list. ;) Thanks for the debate!

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Poster: niuphan Date: Dec 16, 2003 1:08pm
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

Diana, you hit it right on the head, the archive has attracted MANY etree members. I'd be curious to know how many etree members actually know about this discussion? How many etree members/contributors are we going to lose as a result?

The one thing that impressed me about the archive is the data/audio integrity. That is what brought me here and kept me here.

I'm not speaking for them all, but MP3 users are not the most quality concious people in the world. Source information is a very LOW priority to them. Hosting MP3's is only going to attrach MP3 users and their lack of regard for source information and generation loss etc etc etc. If you do not believe me, please see FURTHURNET. Half the SHNs on furthurnet don't even have source info. Furthurnet has no quality control or standards.

I'm more worried about the type of users we are going to attract. Education is not the answer, you are not going to learn if you DO NOT CARE.

Can someone provide a justifiable reason not to host these MP3's on the Open Source Audio page instead? Different servers?? If we can get a clear separation between the two formats, I think that would be a compromise.

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or StaffDiana Hamilton Date: Dec 16, 2003 11:13pm
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

reason not to host these MP3's on the Open Source Audio page instead?

Here's the related feedback I got on that from tapers who have been discussing this elsewhere in a taper community:

Comment 1, re nontraders:
"perhaps through their exposure to the mp3's at the acrhives they will discover the wonders of SHN/FLAC"

Comment 2:
"perhaps placing the mp3s on a different site that isn't dedicated to the lossless archival of shows (because yes, mp3 does go against that). but then i think...well, they've alreayd got a place for hosting files. everybody already knows about it. why add to the confusion and separate the lossy files? then somebody might find this as their source of downloads and not realize what else is out there! i think it's a decent idea to host mp3's along with the shn/flacs. not only does it make your recording more accessible to people... but it poses a question to the uneducated...what are these other files? why are they so much bigger? why are they available for every source while mp3's are only there for some? should i be getting shn/flac? and thus we have education."

He's right, the educational angle is key. If you separate the copies, you *lose* a key opportunity to expose visitors to the higher quality option. And as a teacher and mother, I strongly disagree with your assertion that education is not an answer to something. ;)

BTW I've gotten the impression from that colloquy (as well as here) that more tapers at this point are willing to at least try out the present compromise/trial that Brewster has presented, in comparison to their reactions of a couple weeks or months ago. It appears we *have* a workable compromise here, that we can try to show a "good-faith effort" on.

As with everything in life, no compromise can make everyone 100% happy though. We can only approach that asymptote. ;)

This post was modified by Diana Hamilton on 2003-12-17 07:13:38

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or Staffbleblanc Date: Dec 16, 2003 5:38am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

i would be ok with this as a compromise, provded the LMA promise to continue to honor taper (not uploader) requests

I'll volunteer my time to fix any uploader errors if there's an issue. I won't comment beyond 1 year because I'm sure there will be another discussion and opinions may change.

-Brad

This post was modified by bleblanc on 2003-12-16 13:38:09

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or StaffDiana Hamilton Date: Dec 16, 2003 6:20am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

Gosh Brad, that is so sweet! :) You have been missed!

This post was modified by Diana Hamilton on 2003-12-16 14:20:45

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or StaffJonathan Aizen Date: Dec 16, 2003 2:44am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

If you have the patience, I'd try it using a variable bitrate MP3. I find those are prime :)

Jon

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or Staffbleblanc Date: Dec 16, 2003 2:55am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

Is that what you intend to use? Brewster mentioned 192kbps.

This post was modified by bleblanc on 2003-12-16 10:55:34

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Poster: Administrator, Curator, or StaffJonathan Aizen Date: Dec 16, 2003 3:09am
Forum: etree Subject: Re: access formats on LMA (mp3 ogg etc)

I was planning to make a variety of bitrates, including VBR.